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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Feb-04 - Feb-10, 2002

Steps to boost NWFP industrial sector proposed

A comprehensive strategy, involving incentive package to ensure capital investment in the backward areas, greater access to credit, strengthening of the provincial level institutions responsible for industrial development and public-private partnership in the infrastructure development has been recommended in a recently conducted study to boost NWFP limping industrial sector.

"An effective industrial strategy is needed to spur the momentum of development in the NWFP," the study said. The study, conducted recently by the industries, commerce, mineral development, labour and transport department, NWFP, taking cognizance of the over all state of affairs of the provincial industrial sector, explored reasons for industrial backwardness.

The study also contains a large set of recommendations that may help reshape the industrial sector of NWFP putting it on the progressive track and infusing new life in more than 640 closed down small and medium industrial units out of a total of 1970 units set up in the province.

"Rapid growth [of industries] in the developed areas of the province concentrated capital investment in a few pockets and drew off work force from the less-developed and rural areas, shrinking the base and scope of industrial sector in the province," the study said.

It said that with increased population and diminishing returns in agriculture sector, industrial development was essential for NWFP by utilizing mineral and small hydel resources as cheap raw material and energy for industry.

"In the ultimate analysis, sustained development can only take place, if balanced growth in the form of industrialization is ensured in all regions, areas and parts of the country," recommended the study adding the improvement of NWFP's industrial sector would help attain economic integration at the national level.

Sugar inventory with mills stand at 1.150m tons

With sugarcane crushing in full swing the mills have started experiencing a rapidly rising inventory of the refined white sugar.

According to figures released by the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) the total available inventory of sugar, including last year's carry over stocks of 45,000 tons, stood at 1.150 million tons.

During this period the mills managed to sell around 0.420 million tons or 36 per cent of the total inventory, leaving around 0.731 million tons or 64 per cent of unsold stocks with the mills.

Delay caused by 'price war' with the growers in commencing of new crushing season has proven to be a boon for the sugar industry, which is now experiencing higher recovery rate over previous years. The current year recovery rate of sugar stood at 7.88 per cent as against 7.48 per cent last year.

Decision on 13 sick units next week

The Revival Committee for Sick Units will meet on Monday to consider the revival pleas of 13 more sick units and decide their fate.

After the disposal of their cases, the committee will not have any fresh case for consideration. However, it intends to hold its meeting in Peshawar in March or April to exclusively consider the cases of the sick units from the NWFP.

Chairman of the committee, Tariq Hamid, who is also finance minister of Punjab, has already spoken to his counterpart from NWFP and asked him to gather data on sick units, whose owners are interested in the revival of their industries.

Of 264 sick units with total default amount of Rs35.1 billion, whose cases were referred to the committee since its constitution in the year 2000, the committee has restructured the loans of some 119 units, giving a new lease of life to them. The amount of the loan outstanding against the revived units was Rs16 billion.

WB plans package for Sialkot SMEs

The World Bank will recommend International Finance Corporation (IFC) to design a comprehensive programme, in collaboration with Pakistan government, Smeda and SCCI, to develop and boost the Sialkot-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

This was stated by the World Bank Mission led by John Williamson while addressing a meeting of Sialkot business community at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), on Wednesday, after visiting various industrial units in Sambrial, Daska and Sialkot.

World Bank Mission's head Mr. John Williamson said that we are preparing a Development Policy Review (DPR) documents to assess Pakistani's current development policy agenda. He said that we are focusing on Sialkot-based SMEs.

Inflation hits food budget

Rising transport cost, increasing house rent and mounting pressure of children's education fees in last 10 years has forced an average income Pakistani household to cut down on food consumption and even ignore health care.

An official survey has found that the share of food cost in an average family budget has gone down by 5.22 per cent. Health care cost share, too, is on the decline.

Scheme for upgradation of looms

Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (Smeda) will finalize its plan for technological upgradation of powerlooms by April this year by launching a "Programme Financing Scheme" for the looms for replacing the existing technology.

The decision was taken at a meeting held at the Smeda office on Tuesday with federal industries and production secretary Akram Shaikh in the chair.

Business favours economic ties

Speaking "purely" from an economic point of view most businessmen favour the idea of increasing trade with India. However, they say , it is not possible until and unless the two biggest nations of South Asia decide to settle all their outstanding political feuds, including the Kashmir problem, peacefully and build an environment of mutual confidence and trust necessary for developing bilateral business ties.